Editorial Assistants


Exploring this Job

One of the best ways to explore the editorial field is to work for a school newspaper or other publication. Being involved in researching, writing, reporting, proofreading, page layout, printing, or any other task will help you to understand editing and research and how they relate to the entire field of publishing. If you cannot work for the school paper, try to land a part-time job with a local newspaper or newsletter.

Another way to explore the field is by writing, since editing and writing are inextricably linked. You can try keeping a journal, or try other kinds of writing, such as letters to the editor, short stories, poetry, essays, a blog, comedic prose, and plays. Write something every day. Try to rework your writing until it is as good as you can make it. This will give you a feel for what an editorial worker does.

The Job

Editorial assistants work for many kinds of publishers, publications, and corporations. They assist editors with the tasks necessary to provide clearly written, accurate reading material. These positions tend to be entry-level jobs that may provide the opportunity for advancement. Editorial assistants may be assigned to support one editor or writer, an editorial team, or an entire department. They may work on one project at a time or several projects simultaneously.

Editorial assistants perform many different tasks. They may handle the clerical aspects of an editorial project, such as going through the editorial department mail, filing documents, making photocopies, corresponding with authors, and submitting expense reports and invoices to accounting for payment. They may be responsible for obtaining permission to reuse previously published materials such as artwork, maps, tables, or writing from another person, or verifying that the author has already obtained permission. They may also perform other tasks more directly involved with editing, such as reviewing text for style and format issues, correcting any spelling or grammar errors, and adding or deleting content to make the text more readable or to adhere to space specifications. They may use desktop publishing software to edit text, photos, or art and create page or web layouts.

In addition to the tasks mentioned above, some editorial assistants who work with artists and photographers are responsible for writing captions for photographs or labels for artwork. Editorial assistants who work for newspapers may perform basic and formulaic tasks such as updating the winning lottery numbers, sports scores, or calendar events listed in the newspaper, or they may undertake simple writing assignments such as creating birth, engagement, wedding, or anniversary announcements, or obituaries. Editorial assistants who work for book publishers may be responsible for reading through unsolicited manuscripts from writers and determining which editor, if any, it should be forwarded to for further consideration.